Why isn’t my furnace keeping up with the cold?

Winter in the Pacific Northwest this year has gotten off to a cold start. Snow has already fallen and school has already been cancelled for several days! If the cold has hit your home hard and your furnace just isn’t producing enough heat to keep up with the cold days of winter, don’t panic. Here are some reasons why your furnace system might not be working at maximum efficiency.

#1: There’s a thermostat problem.
If your home is cold, it very well could be that there is a problem with your thermostat that is causing the problem. First of all, check your power source. Next, be sure that the area around the thermostat is clean. Clean up any dirt, dust, or cobwebs that may have formed around the inside of the thermostat. If there is debris buildup, this could contribute to the electrical or mechanical malfunctions. When you’re cleaning it, do not get it wet, just simply use a soft and clean brush to clean it. If your thermostat is old, it could mean that it’s time to replace it completely. Old thermostats not only break down, but they also waste energy. There are a variety of programmable thermostats that are available now and they’re easily connected to your HVAC system.

#2: The filters need replacement.
Be sure that your filters are replaced regularly. Old, dirty filters can cause your system to slow down and sometimes, malfunction completely. New filters will allow your furnace to work at its peak and provide maximum airflow to your home whenever you need it.

#3: Inside components are dirty.
It’s a good idea to inspect the inside components of your system for any dust, dirt, or other debris build up. Over time, this build up can contribute to decreased efficiency and sometimes it can cause the system to break down prematurely.

#4: The system has not been tuned up.
Regular HVAC tune ups are key to maintaining an HVAC system that works well for many years. You should have your system checked and tuned up by HVAC professionals once a year at least. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get your system checked out and ready to tackle the rest of the seasons in 2017.

If you want our experienced service team to take a look at your system and determine why it’s not keeping up with the cold weather, contact us today for an appointment. Or, if you know your system is old and simply not cut out to keep you and your family warm this winter and you’ve decided that this is the year to install a new heating system, our friendly and non-pushy sales team is happy to find a great system that will fit your home and your budget.

#SHCJingleContest voting is now open!

This autumn, Specialty Heating & Cooling began their first jingle contest, calling schools and local youth organizations for participation by asking them to create their own version of the Specialty Heating & Cooling song. We waited for the creativity to start flowing and we got some amazing entries from some talented young people around The Portland metro area!

Entry #1: Oregon City High School Choir
Led by teacher Julia Voorhies, this award-winning choir came in strong with their entry. Not only were the vocals on point, but the videography was impressive, too! This well-known vocal program has performed in front of various audiences and has even traveled to Ireland to perform! The school has a rich history in Oregon, having been founded in 1885 and has been recognized with an outstanding AYP (adequate yearly progress) rating for the last three years by the Oregon Department of Education.
Check out their entry here.

Entry #2: Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls:
This one of a kind entry came from a talented group of girls that rocked it…literally! This is a non-profit organization headquartered in Portland that gives girls of various ages the chance to build their self-esteem through creating and performing music. The organization started in 2001 by a Portland State University student as a summer day camp and today, it’s going strong, working with dozens of girls every year. Check out their entry here.

Entry #3: Oregon Youth Chorale:
The Oregon Youth Chorale came in ready to showcase their creativity with their “cool hot cool hot” sound! Sandra Miller is the founder and artistic director of the program and has put her outstanding experience and education in music to work in teaching this choir. The choral group tours around Oregon and they have even presented concerts in Austria, Italy, and France. Check out their entry here.

Voting is open, so you can head over to our page and VOTE NOW for your favorite rendition of our jingle! The 1st place winner will receive $5,000 and a chance to appear in a major television ad campaign. The 2nd place winner will receive $2,500 and 3rd place will take home $1,000! The winner is selected January 4th!

How to Know If Your Home Needs Duct Sealing


The ductwork in your home plays a crucial role in the indoor air quality and overall comfort level throughout the home from room to room.  Often times the air inside your home is more contaminated than the outside air.  Professional duct sealing with Aeroseal is a very good investment for any homeowner and it can save money in the long run too, simply because the hot or cold air that is going through the duct work is not being leaked out of the ductwork.  We’re proud to be a licensed heating and cooling company that offers duct sealing with Aeroseal to clients around the area. Here’s how to know if your home needs duct sealing.

Sign #1: You have hot or cold spots throughout the house.
Some rooms are warm and others aren’t…sound familiar? These warm or cold spots in the home could mean that you have leaks in your air ducts.

Sign #2: You have a lot of dust accumulation around the home.
Do you feel like you’re always dusting? Excess dust accumulation could be a sign that you have damaged or leaky ducts. Excess dust can come from your attic or crawl space areas and when the heating system pulls the dust from those spaces into your home, it will be circulated throughout the area.

Sign #3: You see a spike in utility costs.
Normally homeowners in the winter see a bit of an increase in their utility bills over the winter because their furnaces are running for longer periods of time. But if you see a dramatic spike in the utility bills and there hasn’t been an increase in utility rates, leaky air ducts could be one of the issues. Leaky ducts let cold air in and leak the warm air out, which means your furnace is working a lot harder to do its job and this means you could see some expensive utility bills. Sealed ductwork allows you to keep cold air out and warm air in and you’ll be able to avoid astronomically priced energy bills.

How Aeroseal works:
Aeroseal Duct Sealing is a patented solution that has a 98% success rate. A sealant is injected into the ductwork of the home and as the air stream makes exists through the leak, the tiny aerosol particles collide and attach to the areas where the leaks are present. During the process, we will provide a computer analysis of your home’s generated leakage, and then once the Aeroseal process is complete, we’ll provide a report showing that the process was successful.

Leaky ductwork can cost homeowners hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars every year in wasted energy. Aeroseal is an affordable solution that can fix leaks from the inside out! Contact us today for more information on how Aeroseal can help you home stay warm and comfortable this winter and all year long!

How to Avoid Furnace Hazards



The temperatures are dropping and the official winter season will be here in just a few weeks. When this happens, most homeowners crank up the heat inside their homes to stay comfortable. However, if your furnace isn’t maintained the right way, you could be putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. It’s important to educate yourself on proper furnace maintenance as well as what the potential hazards are so you can be safe and operate your furnace the safest way possible.

Tip #1: Beware of faulty or broken furnace parts.
Furnace hazards oftentimes are a result of malfunctioning or faulty parts. This could be manufacturer errors in the furnace, or older furnaces sometimes have parts that break or wear down over time, which could pose a safety risk. In addition, if you don’t follow directions properly on how to operate the furnace, you could be creating the potential accident to happen.

Tip #2: Have your furnace inspected on a regular basis.
You should always inspect your furnace regularly to make sure there isn’t something obvious wrong with it, but you should also have a certified HVAC specialist come out and look at the machine regularly, especially before the start of winter. That way, you could be sure that any potential issues are identified and fixed before they become hazardous or potentially dangerous.

Tip #3: Always complete repairs in a timely manner.
If something breaks down on your furnace – even a small part – get it repaired right away. The longer you let repairs sit undone, the greater chance you have for a potential hazardous issue to arise. In addition, don’t attempt to repair anything by yourself. A trained professional should always take care of any furnace repairs in order to avoid personal injury or greater damage to your furnace or the surrounding property.

Safe indoor heating is important during the winter, so understanding how your furnace operates and taking the time to be sure that it’s working at its maximum efficiency is key. Contact us today for a furnace tune-up or repair so you can be ready to tackle the cold winter air with warmth inside your home!

Winter HVAC maintenance tips

The cool, wet weather is back and weather experts are predicting that this winter will be colder than usual this year. Besides bundling up in extra layers to stay warm, winterizing your furnace and performing regular maintenance on it should be a top priority. Your HVAC system is essential during the cold months of winter, so make sure that it’s working efficiently before it’s too late. Here are some winter HVAC maintenance tips.

Tip #1: Make sure filters are clean.
The filter is very important and clogged filters can disrupt the flow of air to your home. Not only that, dirty filters can trip safety switches inside the furnace. If this continues to happen, the system will have to work hard and it could cause the system to wear our quickly. Make sure to check your filters regularly and replace them as needed.

Tip #2: Clean the inside.
If you’re able to open up the inside of the furnace, you’re likely to see some debris and/or dust buildup. You don’t need anything special to clean this out, just grab a regular vacuum and clean it. This will not only allow for cleaner air to travel through your home, but it will help the machine function at its maximum efficiency.

Tip #3:  Don’t ignore unusual sounds.
If you’ve noticed some strange sounds coming out of your system recently, or if the system doesn’t seem to be acting right, don’t ignore these signs any longer. The worst time for your heater to break down is during a cold stretch of winter! Unusual sounds can be a sign that a part replacement or repair is needed. If you’re not sure, our team of experienced technicians can help accurately diagnose the problem and make sure that the system is fixed so you’re comfortable.

Tip #4: Set up an annual maintenance appointment.
Make sure that your HVAC system undergoes regular annual maintenance. This is a great investment and should be done at the turn of fall or winter. Maintenance appointments will help identify any potential problem areas that may be unseen that could lead to expensive repairs later down the road.

You and your family rely on the heater throughout the cold months, so it’s important to prepare your system for the upcoming weather. If your system needs servicing, you can easily request service online here. Or, perhaps your old furnace has reached the end of its lifetime and a new HVAC system is in order for your home. We offer a variety of quality heating systems and our team can help customize a solution for your home and most importantly, your budget. Contact us today!

Why is my furnace so loud?

The mornings and evenings in the Pacific Northwest are getting chilly, so you may have found yourself relying on your furnace to keep you warm! You’ve probably become used to the sounds that your furnace makes when it kicks on, but if there are some new noises that have developed recently that have you scratching your head, let us help. There may be a specific issue that needs to be addressed.

What are the causes of a loud furnace?
If you hear banging or a clanking sound, this could mean that there is a part of your system that has become loose or damaged. This could be an urgent issue that needs to be fixed right away, as other parts of the furnace could be damaged as a result of one damaged part. If it’s ignored for too long, the furnace could breakdown completely and may need to be replaced altogether.

If you hear a whining or whistling noise, this could mean there is a problem linked to the ductwork in the home. Gaps in ducts could cause a whistle and this means that the efficiency of your furnace is not up to par. Whistling noises could also mean that your filters are dirty and that they need to be cleaned out. Change or clean your filters every month.

If you notice a high-pitched screeching noise, this could be alarming and indicate that there is something wrong with the motor that blows the air. Perhaps it has come loose or is broken, or just needs to be lubricated so it can run smoothly.

If you’re experiencing other noises that we haven’t covered here, we’re happy to come and take a look at the system and see what’s going on. Our specialists at Specialty Heating & Cooling are experienced and can find and diagnose the problem quickly so you can run your furnace in peace and quiet in the comfort of your own home.

In addition, it’s important to stay on top of regular maintenance by having a team of professionals come out and service your furnace regularly. When your heating system is maintained in this way, these types of noises can usually be avoided altogether. Taking care of your home’s furnace is just like changing the oil or getting a tune-up on your car: this type of care means you’ll help prevent problems from happening in the future and you’ll maintain optimal comfort and efficiency throughout the year!

Contact our award winning service team today for an appointment!

Why heat your home with a heat pump?


Weather in Oregon changes greatly from season to season and we’re used to rain and colder weather during the fall and winter months and we get accustomed to cranking up the heat if we need it. When summer rolls around, it’s time to bring out the air conditioning unit to stay cool. If you’re tired of using separate systems to heat and cool your home and you’re looking for one system that can provide the comfort you need while also saving energy, a heat pump is a great answer. Here’s why you should get your home set up with a heat pump this autumn.

  1. Comfort
    Heat pumps provide clean air and consistent temperatures no matter what season it is. You are given the control of what temperature is most comfortable for your home. Heat pumps are built with longer run times at lower speeds which can increase dehumidification capability and offer even temperatures inside.
  2. Efficiency
    Heat pumps take the heat from the outside air to warm your home and then efficiently cools your home by taking the heat out of your house. If you’re used to heating your home with other heat sources that are less efficient and expensive like oil or electric, you will see a big price drop in your heating bill after installing a heat pump. Heat pumps are one of the most environmentally friendly ways to heat and cool your home because of how efficiently they utilize electricity.
  3. Noise
    Are you tired of being woken up to a rattling, outdated HVAC system? Say goodbye to those days with a heat pump. They’re so quiet that you can hardly hear them! Many heat pumps are made to operate at lower capacities so the sound levels are kept extremely low.
  4. Rebates and Incentives
    Since, heat pumps are very efficient there are a variety of rebates and incentives available to customers throughout the year. In fact, customers have the opportunity to save up to $3825 on a new heating and cooling system with a heat pump.  By combining state and federal tax credits, Carrier cool cash, and local utility rebates customers can save up to $3,825!
  5. Dual fuel with hybrid system
    A hybrid system combines a heat pump with a gas furnace and is used to heat your home when the weather is mild. When the weather turns very cold, the heat pump will shut off and the furnace alone will heat the home. These machines run in tandem with each other and this is a more efficient option.



Here are two great heat pump options:

18vs heat pump
This is an efficient heat pump that stands out above the rest. It features variable-speed compression that can change to as many as 5 stages. The ability to run at lower speeds means that it will be quieter and better at removing humidity from the air. It also keeps temperatures even, which allows users to get the most out of the unit’s efficiency levels. It’s also smaller and lighter than other 2-stage units and works with communicating thermostats. It’s durable and comes with a 10 year limited warranty, so homeowners can rely on it for years to come.

Infinity 20
This whisper-quiet heat pump features Greenspeed Intelligence and comes with the highest rating for efficiency.  The variable-speed compressor allows it to adapt to the unique needs of the home and can adjust between 40 and 100% capacity.

Contact us today at 503-946-6396 and let us talk to you about what options there are for your home’s layout and most importantly, your budget. Our experienced and professional sales team can help you decide which one will work for you and get you ready to experience ultimate comfort in your home in the coming cooler months.

Top 5 Reasons to Use Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems

Thinking about getting a new heating system installed before the winter weather hits? Autumn is the perfect time to get a new system installed before the cold weather busy season.  Ductless heating and cooling systems are great options to all of your home comfort needs, all year long! Not only will they keep you warm during the winter, but they’ll keep you cool in the summer with just a simple click of a button.  Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider using ductless heating and cooling in your home.

Reason #1: Comfort
Ductless systems are known for providing clean air, consistent temperatures and humidity control throughout the year. You’re in control of what temperature works for you and your home, so no matter how cold it gets this year, you can rely on staying comfortable with just one simple ductless solution.

Reason #2: Easy Installation
A ductless system is easy to install for our team of experienced professionals. We’ll do all the hard work for you and can typically install a new unit for your home in 1-2 days, depending on the scope of the job.  Installation usually only requires a small hole in the wall to connect the pipe to the indoor unit and to the outdoor compressor unit. No painting or patching required!

Reason #3: Energy Efficiency
Ductless heat pumps don’t suck up extra electricity like traditional electric heat sources such as electric baseboard heaters, ceiling heat or wall heaters. So that means, you’ll be saving energy and you’ll also save money on your utility bill every month!

Reason #4: Easy Maintenance
With ductless heating and cooling systems, you won’t need to worry about trying to maintain the unit year after year. All you need to do is make sure the air filter is cleaned on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, then call us to schedule an annual tune-up for it. We’ll clean the air vents and humidifiers, tighten electrical connections, and make sure all the parts are in good working order so there are no surprise break-downs during the cold winter season.

Reason #5: Flexibility
Ductless systems can be used in a variety of home styles and designs, no matter what the space demands. Ductless systems are an easy solution for any home because they’re easily configurable, whereas traditional HVAC systems are not because not duct work is needed.  Ductless heating and cooling systems are great solutions for rooms with hot or cold spots, renovations and additions, rooms you don’t use consistently, garages, and convert attics and basements.

If you’ve decided a ductless heat pump is the way to go, there are a variety of options out there that we can help you with. Contact us and let us talk to you about what options there are for your home’s layout and your budget. Our experienced and professional sales team can help you decide which one will work for you and get you ready to go for the cooler months that are coming.

Why Is Fall Furnace Service Important?

Commercial Maintenance Picture

We had a beautiful Pacific Northwest summer and now autumn has returned in all of its glory. Temperatures are mild, skies are blue, and the mornings are crisp. Now that fall has arrived, it’s a great time to have your HVAC system serviced and tuned-up. We talk a lot about the importance of spring tune-ups, as it’s a great time to make sure things are in good working order before the warm summer months, but autumn tune-ups are just as important because colder weather is coming. Is your furnace up for the job of keeping you comfortable all fall and winter? Here’s why fall furnace service is important:

Reason #1: It keeps the air cleaner.
Indoor air quality is incredibly important, especially now that school is back in session and viruses are circulating freely. Keeping your furnace clean and working well means that the air you breathe will be cleaner. Looking to enhance your indoor air quality even more? Consider the Air Scrubber, which uses ActivePure™ technology that uses germicidal UV light waves with an exclusive catalytic process that uses enviroscrubbing molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. It can reduce 99.9% of the harmful contaminants that get into your home in just 30 minutes of use. In addition, the Infinity® Air Purifier is another great product that uses a unique Capture and Kills ™ technology which captures up to 99% airborne viruses, germs, mold, and bacteria, then uses an electrical charge to kill them.

Reason #2: It cleans the system.
Over time, dust and other debris will accumulate on your system. If it’s not cleaned well every year, your system’s air flow could be reduced and you will have a much lower level of efficiency happening. It could also cause parts to wear down and break, which could mean you’re facing a costly repair in the future.

Reason #3: It keeps your system running longer.
Without annual cleaning and preventative maintenance services, your furnace can wear out quickly. Consider your HVAC tune-ups as similar to when you get your car serviced or get the oil changed. Servicing can ensure that the system will continue to work at its optimal performance level and that there will be no breakdowns during the brutally cold months of winter.  When winter hits, our team is usually busy with emergency calls and you don’t want to be included on that list, so plan ahead with a fall tune-up. When you go to turn on your furnace, you want it to work!

What does a tune-up include?
A tune-up includes a thorough cleaning and full inspection of the furnace to identify any potential issues that may be happening and to make sure the unit is at its optimal efficiency for max comfort.  If there are any areas of concern, we’ll let you know.  Also, keeping current on your annual maintenance keeps you in compliance with manufactures warranty standards.

So before the weather gets extremely cold and wet, beat the rush for service and call us today for a fall tune up. Our experienced team of professionals will make sure your system is up and running well so you can live comfortably this fall and winter in Oregon!

How much does it cost to replace your furnace?

furnace replacement

Your furnace is an essential item in your home. If it needs replacing, you may be fervently searching all over the Internet to see how much it will cost you and if you have the budget for a new system. There are several factors that are important when considering replacing your furnace; type of equipment, efficiency, quality of installation, reputation of the Company you choose, and rebates and incentives that are available. Even if your furnace just needs a simple repair, it’s good to keep in mind what the costs are because eventually you’ll need to buy a new unit.

Heating furnace replacement cost: here are all the details you need to know.

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